President Joe Biden, who in late May pushed for a 90-day redoubled investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, should have been pushing on the matter even sooner, Sen. Joni Ernst told Newsmax on Wednesday.
"On day 91, what does the president expect to do?" the Iowa Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "I certainly wish President Biden and the administration had been pushing on this much sooner."
Biden needs to be "very heavy-handed if we find out there was a lab leak or the virus was developed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology," she added. "My colleagues and I are very intent on discovering the origins of COVID-19 and stopping funding that had continued to flow through the National Institutes of Health to EcoHealth and Wuhan."
About $600,000 of taxpayer money went to the Chinese institute, said Ernst, and the "NIH continued to grant dollars to EcoHealth Alliance, even though they have refused to answer [questions about] how that money was being spent at the institute. ... There are a lot of unanswered questions here. ... WHO had their opportunity. We need independent investigators."
Meanwhile, Ernst said she hates to see that the U.S. and China appear to be heading toward a renewed Cold War, but "certainly, we can't trust Communist China."
"We have seen that in a very damaging example with the global pandemic," she said. "Over 3 million people have lost their lives because of something that came out of China, whether it was on purpose or inadvertently. We've had a global pandemic. They refused to answer questions, they refused to allow investigators in, they have destroyed evidence. This is very damaging not just to any sort of friendship or alliance that could have been with the United States but with many of our partners around the globe."
She also discussed the ongoing role that corporate America has had in China concerning manufacturing and said she'd like to see companies turn away from the communist nation and other countries that abuse their own people.
"It's easy to preach here in the United States, but if they're getting cheap goods from overseas ... I guess that's very, very unfortunate," Ernst said. "They do need to stand up. They need to put their foot down, and let's focus on America first.''
Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., has presented a bill pushing for government intelligence and defense contracts to be awarded to U.S. companies rather than Chinese ones. Ernst said she has not yet read the text of the bill but said it sounds "very worthy of support" from both sides of the aisle.
"I do think that if you're working in intelligence, if you're working with the DOD, there should not be connections to Communist China, period," Ernst said.
The senator also spoke out against National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying she thinks he has done "enough damage."
"He certainly has been the face of coronavirus and yet has sent a very confusing message to the American people, and that's very, very unfortunate," she said. "We need to follow the science. We know that we're climbing out of coronavirus. And yet we still see mixed messages coming from Dr. Fauci. It's very unfortunate."
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